If you are like most small business owners, you are self-motivated. You are passionate about your service or product and you are always focused on your business – attending to your customers or clients, fixing problems, thinking about how to grow your business, etc. You always want to provide impeccable service and impress clients and customers with your work.
But if you have employees, how do you motivate them to feel as passionately about the business as you do? How can you encourage them to “act like owners”, too?
Eight Tips on Motivating Your Team:
- Create a culture of trust. People want to work hard for people they respect and trust. If they feel confident in their relationship with you (and with other employees) it will free them to focus on the work, instead of worrying about inter-personal work-place dynamics.
- Share praise. When your employees are doing a great job, let them know. And let others know, too! It can be highly motivating to have one’s work acknowledged and appreciated publicly. Also, giving employees opportunities to take on more responsibility can be a great form of recognition, too.
- Be more transparent. Openness is essential for any small business. Your employees need to know what is going on in the business so that they have the information they need to do their jobs well. They should also be getting regular feedback on how they are doing their job. It is particularly important to be transparent if there is going to be a change in the business that will affect your employees. People need to know how the change will affect them personally. Once that is understood, they may be much more likely to work with you through the challenge or transition.
- Share decision-making. It is both respectful and practical to involve your employees in key decisions, especially decisions that directly impact their jobs. Often it is the people closest to the problem that have the best insight into possible solutions.
- Give people space. It is important to let people accomplish tasks and make decisions independently within their area of the business. No one likes to be micro-managed. Focus on results instead of how the work gets done. (Your way may not be the only way… or the best way.)
- Take time to talk and to listen. People feel more confident and energized to do their work when they fully understand what is expected of them, and know that you are available if a problem arises. If you give someone authority over a task, take time for training, communicate the constraints and boundaries of his or her responsibility, and the process for asking questions and getting assistance.
- Take the long view — delegate. In the moment when something needs doing, it might seem easier (and faster) to just do it yourself. It can take a lot of up-front effort to explain the task and then that person might work slowly or make mistakes. But giving employees opportunities to take on new and challenging tasks will help them reach their full potential and will ultimately create a much stronger team for your business.
- Keep things interesting! No one wants to do the same thing over and over. Every job has repetitive tasks but a part of everyone’s job should involve something interesting. Think about how employees’ tasks align with their experience, knowledge and skill-level, as well as their long-term goals and interests.
If you have employees, they are an essential part of your business – you cannot be a success without them. By creating a more transparent enterprise, sharing praise and decision making, and taking the time to listen and to delegate, you will create a positive business culture that will help both you and your business thrive. When you encourage employees to develop skills and stay engaged with the business, you will be making the best use of your time and skill level, too!